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For the Los Angeles architecture firm
By Eleanor Rothman Frederick Fisher and Partners Architects July 2010
Between sampling products, making models, printing plots, studying magazines, and using electronic software, architecture firms are constantly in demand of materials. Yet no materials have a permanent home in our offices. Consequently, we end up producing a huge amount of waste. With every mis-‐measured foam roofing model or outdated sample, we send a complicated and valuable material to be thrown away. Yet “away” no longer exists, and you can’t “throw” anything there. The action is obsolete. Our world is spinning towards the day when disposal becomes impossible and all waste must be accounted for. In fact, that day is almost upon us. Thus it is imperative that individuals and company leaders implement sustainable practices in their lives and businesses. Below is a guide for the first steps in waste reduction and responsibility. Take a moment to review these guidelines and do your part, however insignificant it may feel. Remember that America’s mentality is shifting. Our youth is no longer learning about garbage facilities or even recycling: they are learning that there is no such thing as waste.
By Eleanor Rothman
Use the internet. Many companies are switching to the internet to display their product information. Try to avoid ordering samples and product binders by using online sources whenever possible. This will also open up space in your office. Know your sources. Always opt for the eco-‐minded brand.1 When that isn’t possible, order LOCALLY. For a Los Angeles based firm, samples from California are inherently more sustainable than samples from Italy. Order efficiently. In order to minimize driving/shipping emissions, limit your sample orders to what you actually need and order them in one shipment. Contact the representative. Often, companies producing material samples will reclaim them for reuse or recycle in their own facilities. Such organizations include Shaw Carpet and Heath Ceramics. Some of these reps accept products from other companies, so give them a call. Email the office. Many of our samples have great artistic possibilities. Odds are someone in the office is interested in the materials you are looking to discard. Send out a friendly email to your coworkers and you may get some hits. Post an ad. In a metropolitan Mecca like Los Angeles, people are always looking for something, especially something free. Post an ad for your materials on one of Southern California’s many selling and trading sites, and you’re sure to get plenty of hits and discover exciting projects. Start with Craigslist (www.craigslist.com) and Freecycle (www.freecycle.org), then move on to government
sponsored trading cites such as LACoMax (http://dpw.lacounty.gov/epd/lacomax/) and CalMax (http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/calmax/).2 Create a contact list. As you receive responses to your posting, inquire as to whether the responders would like to be notified during future cleanouts. Add any reliable persons to a contact list (at my office, we call it our “Trash to Treasure” list). Then, during future cleanouts, you will have a solid base to start with. Get with the program. There are plenty of available recycling programs for businesses in Los Angeles, CA.3 Use them. Do your research. Know which materials are recyclable and which aren’t.4 Use the cans accordingly. Don’t be lazy. Though there may be a trashcan conveniently located under your desk, get some exercise and walk the extra ten feet to the recycling bin. It won’t take a significant chunk out of your day.
1 Green products:
Carpet: Shaw Contract Group Dalton, GA www.shawcontractgroup.com (800) 257-‐7429 • Cradle to Cradle Silver, NSF 140, CRI Green Label Plus, Good Environmental Choice certification. • 100% recyclable with recycling services included. Ceiling/wall: Phonstop Acoustic Ceiling and Wall Tiles Minneapolis, MN (800) 662-‐0032 • 100% post-‐consumer recycled glass bottles. • NRC 0.90 (same as standard insulation). • Automatically Class 1 fire retardant. Fabic: Textus Commercial Textiles Irvine, CA www.themomgroup.com (949) 833-‐8886, (800) 366-‐6839 • ISO 14001 company. • Terratex 100-‐percent recycled polyester (from pre-‐consumer sources) • MBDC Gold certified fabrics such as the antimony-‐free, recyclable Eco-‐Intelligent polyester and Climatex Lifecycle made from wool and ramie.
Eco Wool fabrics processed without pesticides; using biodegradable detergents that minimize water pollution; vegetable oil lubricants rather than mineral oil; and environmentally friendly dyes. 72 percent lower CO2 emissions compared with conventional wool products.
Below is an example of a successful ad I posted on Craigslist a few weeks ago: Title: Art & Construction Materials, FREE Body: MARBLE, TERRAZZO, LIMESTONE, SLATE, STEEL, WOOD, CONCRETE, ALUMINUM, LINOLEUM, GLASS, STUCCO, ETC. Architecture firm looking for SUSTAINABLE/CREATIVE WAY of disposing of their valuable material samples. If interested, please contact us with the following information: -Name -General location -Reason for desiring materials -Proposal for use of materials We will only donate our materials to a cause we feel is artistically, economically, or environmentally productive for the city of Los Angeles. Hurry, materials are going fast! Thank you, we look forward to receiving your responses. This ad was successful because it incorporates a large number of keywords that buyers may be entering into search engines. Also, by requesting information, I was able to select the best causes around the city to which we can donate our materials in the future. 3 Recycling programs: All recyclable waste: Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation Department of Public Works, Bureau of Sanitation Solid Resources Citywide Recycling Division (SRCRD) (213) 485-‐2260 SRCRD@lacity.org • Call for a consultation, recycling guide, or to set up a recycling program in your office. Cans, glass, plastic: Los Angeles Conservation Corporation (213) 749-‐3601 3655 South Grand Avenue, Suite 280 Los Angeles, CA. 90007 www.lacorps.org • This nonprofit Los Angeles organization will come to your office and pick up your cans, glass, and plastics for free. Service is less reliable, but if your office is on a tight budget, programs like the LA Conservation Corp are good options. Electronic waste: Best Buy West LA: Store 109 11301 W Pico Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90064 http://stores.bestbuy.com/109/2009/04/24/go-‐green-‐at-‐best-‐buy-‐with-‐recycling-‐your-‐old-‐ electronics/
Bring your electronic waste to the Best Buy West LA branch and they will recycle it for you. If it is gently used, you can exchange it for a gift card.
4 Recyclable vs. non-recyclable:
Yes, It is Recyclable Paper
Newspaper Paper board Cardboard, corrugated boxes Cardboard cereal & cracker boxes, etc. 6-pack cartons Brown grocery bags Magazines Glossy paper Junk mail Stationery & envelopes Any high grade/uncoated paper Binder/notebook paper, any color Telephone books
No, It is NOT Recyclable Paper
Plastic or wax coated paper and cartons Frozen food boxes Microwave food boxes Wax cereal/cracker box liners Books Gummed or glued bindings Paper towels, napkins, tissue paper Paper plates, soiled paper Adhesive backed or sticky notes Carbon paper, thermal fax paper Aluminum foil boxes Fast food wrappers Pet food bags
Yes, It is Recyclable Plastic, Glass, Aluminum
Aluminum cans, foil, trays Tin cans & bi-metal cans Glass bottles, jars (empty & rinsed) Any color glass bottles or jars All plastic food containers #1 & #2, most #5, some #4 Plastic bottles and containers, such as shampoo, detergent, bleach, milk, soda, water, and aspirin containers, etc. Microwave food trays
No, It is NOT Recyclable Plastic, Glass, Aluminum
Aerosol cans Ovenware Ceramics Windowpane glass or Mirror Plastic wrap All wax laminated cartons/containers, such as milk cartons, juice boxes & soy milk boxes Plastic motor oil bottles
LA County Department of Public Works http://dpw.lacounty.gov/epd/Recycling/what.cfm
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?